It’s a Flash-animated short film, about the activities of a Bladerunner named Gaff, who ends a hunt by leaving his signature origami on the body of decommissioned replicants. It’s very short, only about 90 seconds long, but it sure captures the mood of the dystopian future in which Bladerunner is set. Gaff is arguably one of the most important characters in Bladerunner. This short gives us a peek into his back story.

The animation is by Jason Cardona of futprntsworkshop. His work is stylish and minimalist, and this is probably strongly shaped by the fact that Cardona probably works alone on most, if not all, of the animation he produces. Cardona turns a limitation into a strength, however, as the energy in his work is carefully meted out,  yet the scenes are powerful and expressive. We see echoes of work by Ralph Bakshi (Wizards) and  René Laloux (Fantastic Planet) in his design and animation sensibilities. Cardona is clearly inspired by both these. Here is Cardona’s demo reel.

The original movie Bladerunner  from 1982 was based on a science fiction novel by Phillip K. Dick, originally published in 1968. One of its primary themes was the continual progression away from humanity by Decker and other bladerunners, and the progression toward it by the replicants themselves. The origami shows the emotional detachment of Gaff, who functions as a thematic echo for Decker in the film.

The idea of the retrieval of a replicant’s jaw as proof that he was, in fact, a replicant, was in an early draft of the script for Bladerunner, but was abandoned in later drafts. The fact that Cardona knew about this shows his dedication to the material. Here is an animator who has done his homework.

Bladerunner 2049 stars Harrison Ford, is being directed by Denis Villeneuve, and releases October 6, 2017.

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